Thursday, April 25th, 2024

Peaks and Pints Tournament of Beer: Northwest Ambers April 25

Peaks & Pints barkeeps Bilbo Brandon and Mathrandir break down the Tournament of Beer: Northwest Ambers Ethanol 8.

Peaks and Pints Tournament of Beer: Northwest Ambers April 25

BILBO BRANDON: The Ethanol 8 is fully fleshed out: Stemma First Amber, Triplehorn Folkvang Red, Top Rung Box Alarm Amber, Triceratops Collin James Irish Red, Pelican Sea’N Red, Double Mountain I.R.A., Boneyard Diablo Rojo, and Block 15 Ridgeback Red. It’s interesting to note that number 16th seed First Amber made it to the final eight, Boneyard Diablo Rojo is the only number one seed remaining, and Thurston County beat Pierce County with Top Rung Box Alarm Amber and Triceratops Collin James battling for champion of Southern Washington. Hello, I’m Bilbo Brandon, and, once again, my fellow Peaks & Pints barkeep Mathrandir is in the booth with me today.

MATHRANDIR: Thanks Bilbo! It’s all come down to eight. All the signs in the breweries, the mass emailings to customers and friends, the amber phone trees have paid off for these eight malt slingers. It’s now do or diacetyl time for the Middle-Northwest amber and red ale royalty. So, read up on yesterday’s action, and then vote on the Ethanol 8 games. …

Wednesday, April 24, Saccharification 16 Northwest Ambers Games results

Peaks barkeep Mathrandir, right, discusses how close all the Saccharification 16 games were yesaterday.


Boundary Bay Railroad Ave. Amber (#14 seed) vs Triplehorn Brewing Folkvang Red (#15 seed)

BILBO BRANDON: Boundary Bay Brewing Railroad Ave. Amber shot out of the opening bell like a runaway train, which makes sense since the Bellingham brewery sits on Railroad Avenue. Only a few blocks from Railroad Avenue and its historic track, Bellingham Railway Museum entertains visitors with railroading memorabilia from Whatcom County and beyond. The Bellingham Society of Model Engineers, which formed in 1994 — one year before Ed Bennett opened Boundary Bay in an old transit company station building — frequently rides the Railroad Ave. Amber. The only train of concern for the Vikings is training to be warriors, and the reward after training — Triplehorn Brewing Folkvang Red.

MATHRANDIR: Viking training must be going well as Folkvang Red grabbed 54 percent of the vote and a slot in the Ethanol 8.


Peaks barkeep Bilbo Brandon, left, wants an Amber Alarm.

Top Rung Brewing Box Alarm Amber (#8 seed) vs 7 Seas Brewing Cutt’s NW Amber (#4 seed)

MATHRANDIR: Speaking of training … Casey Sobol, founder of Top Rung Brewing, is a B Shift captain and EMT with the McLane Black Lake Fire Department. He named their amber, “Box Alarm.” For the uninitiated, each box alarm is assigned a specific number and when a box is pulled or activated, a “code wheel” containing “teeth” will spin, causing the normally closed circuit to open for a momentary pulse. These pulses correspond to the box number, alerting the fire department of the activated box alarm.

BILBO BRANDON: It would be cool if there was an “Amber Alarm” that when activated Top Rung’s Box Alarm Amber would flow past my teeth and warm my box-y body with its robust toasted flavor.

MATHRANDIR: That’s alarming. On the other side of this code wheel is 7 Seas Brewing’s Cutt’s NW Amber named after Cutts Island in Carr Inlet — one half-mile offshore from Kopachuck State Park and is accessible only by water and occasionally by sandbar at extremely low tide.

BILBO BRANDON: Cutts Island has also been known as “Crow Island,” after the crows found in abundance on the island in 1792 by explorer Peter Puget, “Scotts Island,” after Thomas Scott, quartermaster of the 1841 Wilkes expedition, and “Deadman’s Island” after belief that the island served as a burial ground for Native American tribes who placed their dead in canoes in the forks of trees.

MATHRANDIR: That’s all fine and dandy, but this isn’t a Tournament of Islands. It’s the Tournament of Beer and Top Rung has a cut of the Ethanol 8 after filling its box with 52 percent of the vote.


Double Mountain Brewery I.R.A. (#3 seed) vs Buoy Beer NW Red (#2 seed)

BILBO BRANDON: Sally might sell shells by the seashore, but these two breweries brew delicious red ales yards away from the Columbia River — Double Mountain Brewery sits above the Columbia River in Hood River while Buoy Beer rests against the mighty river in Astoria. We have no idea what that means, but we do know these two upper seed reds have nothing to lose, unless you count a permanent handle at Peaks & Pints through the summer. Double Mountain came out strong with a large lead that Buoy picked at all day until it ran out of time. At the buzzer, Double Mountain had 51 percent of the vote and a slot in the Ethanol 8.


Bilbo and Mathrandir wish they could have a Double Mountain I.R.A. in Hood River, board a boat and float down the Columbia River to Astoria for a Buoy NW Red.

Boneyard Beer Diablo Rojo (#1 seed) vs Kobold Brewing Brimstone Red (#13 seed)

MATHRANDIR: Boneyard Beer’s Diablo Rojo, a favorite to go far in the Southern Oregon Region after perceived contenders such as Barley Brown’s Point Blank Red and Oakshire’s Amber Ale were dismissed in earlier rounds, won another game beating Kobold Brewing Brimstone Red with 55 percent of the vote. Boneyard knows a thing or two because it has seen a thing or two.

BILBO BAGGINS: Let’s weed through the malts. The following are advancing to the Ethanol 8:

Triplehorn Brewing Folkvang Red (#15 seed)

Top Rung Brewing Box Alarm Amber (#8 seed)

Double Mountain Brewery I.R.A. (#3 seed)

Boneyard Beer Diablo Rojo (#1 seed)

MATHRANDIR: Alright Bilbo, it’s time to launch the Peaks and Pints Tournament of Beer: Northwest Ambers Ethanol 8 with four games battling today. Please vote for one beer per game on Peaks & Pints’ Instagram Stories. Voting for today’s battles ends at midnight. We’ll announce the winners tomorrow morning around 10 a.m., but today’s games are live on our Instagram Stories right now.

Thursday, April 25, Etahnol 8 Northwest Ambers Games


Stemma Brewing First Amber (#16 seed) vs. Triplehorn Brewing Folkvang Red (#15 seed)

BILBO BRANDON: Brewery taprooms aren’t like regular businesses. People don’t laugh and share good times in tire stores. But they do in brewery taprooms. People don’t meet new friends or lovers at Best Buy. But they do in brewery taprooms. People don’t feel at home in a cell phone store. But they do at brewery taprooms. Stemma Brewing and Triplehorn Brewing have joyful taprooms and outdoor spaces. I don’t know where I’m going with this other than I adore hanging out in these two taprooms.

MATHRANDIR: Me too! Both staffs are fun people! Regarding their amber and red, analysts could argue Stemma has the edge due to distribution through River Barrel Distribution, and the fact that Stemma owner and head brewer Jason Harper is an Advance Cicerone. But, as stated previously, the Tournament of Beer isn’t voted by analysts, it’s voted by finger taps. Vote now!

VOTE ON PEAKS & PINTS’ INSTAGRAM STORIES >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Top Rung Brewing Box Alarm Amber (#8 seed) vs. Triceratops Brewing Collin James Irish Red (#10 seed)

BILBO BAGGINS: This game will make you laugh. Chuckle, actually. But that’s not shocking. If you read these daily Tournament of Beer quips you’ve arrived at the conclusion that Thurston County breweries are a happy-go-lucky bunch. Expert Tomfoolerypeople, if you will. This game will follow suit. Keep an eye on the socials. That said, South Sounders know Box Alarm is an easily likeable and drinkable amber ale with caramel malts layered in between the oats, barley, and Munich malts to give a bit of richness to balance the hops. Fourteen-and-a-half miles southeast, Triceratops Brewing’s Collin James Irish Red offers notes of plum and raisin with a slight bready-nutty flavor provided by the Irish ale malt and a touch of roasted barley balanced with an earthy, floral finish. Enjoy the friendly, fun banter but don’t ignore the craft.

VOTE ON PEAKS & PINTS’ INSTAGRAM STORIES >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Pelican Brewing Sea’N Red (#4 seed) vs. Double Mountain Brewery I.R.A. (#3 seed)

MATHRANDIR: Don’t stop to wonder how important your employment is considering you haven’t wholeheartedly worked on anything since the Tournament of Beer: Northwest Ambers started. Today won’t be much different. Pelican Brewing and Double Mountain Brewery are award-winning craft beer brewers. Depending on your own personal criteria for what constitutes a “great game,” there’s certainly a case to be made for this game. This has the potential to be an offensive showcase the likes that hasn’t been seen in this year’s Tournament of Beer. Sing it Sammy Hagar:

Red is my lover, got it covered
Red is my number, sure is a comer
Red is my drummer, and I hear red thunder
Move over brother, Red’s a mother


VOTE ON PEAKS & PINTS’ INSTAGRAM STORIES >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Boneyard Beer Diablo Rojo (#1 seed) vs. Block 15 Brewing Ridgeback Red (#2 seed)

MATHRANDIR: It’s the battle of the votes. Technically, all the Tournament of Beer games have been battles of the votes, but these two red ales have garnered their fair share of lopsided vote tallies. If voters don’t engage in long, multi-scenario discussions about what these two malty mascots should look like and which one would win in a fight-to-the-death battle royal, but rather concentrate on which red ale should be crowned the Red King of Southern Oregon, this should be the closest contest of the day. Vote now!

VOTE ON PEAKS & PINTS’ INSTAGRAM STORIES >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

LINK: Tournament of Beers: Northwest Ambers explained

LINK: Tournament of Beer Headquarters

LINK: Hot Damn! Yes, I want to subscribe to 6-Pack of Things To Do newsletter and be hip to local happenings!